Music and the stage came naturally to Serge Deyglun: his mother was actress Mimi D’Estée and his father was writer-producer Henri Deyglun, who wrote radio plays in the days before television. Serge first went onto the stage as a chansonnier in the late 1940s, as night club and music hall promoter Jacques Normand brought Deyglun, Clémence Desrochers, Raymond Lévesque, Monique Leyrac and others to the attention of Quebeckers through venues such as the Montreal cabaret, Au Faisan doré.
Deyglun was among those pioneers who championed “la chanson Canadienne”, which led to the term “chansonniers”. He performed parodies and poetic material in cabarets. In the years after World War II, he was also writing news reports for reviews and newspapers and hosting radio shows. In 1951, he published Né en trompette, a set of 25 poems collected by André Riche. He and Raymond Lévesque left for a stint at L’Écluse cabaret in France in 1954. Unfortunately, Deyglun was forced to leave the country to avoid serving in the French military, a service required through his French citizenship.
A devotee of hunting and fishing, he hosted nature shows on radio and TV, one of which was called, simply, Chasse et pêche (hunting and fishing). His passion for the environment also led him to embrace causes, such as the protection of seals. He was a public activist for pure water and he filmed a National Film Board documentary in 1965, titled Massacre des innocents, about the killing of young seal pups for their fur. He was a strong environmentalist until his death in 1972. The Fédération Québécoise de la Faune (wildlife federation) created an award in his honour shortly after he died.
Deyglun’s most popular song, Retour des chantiers, has been recorded by several artists including Les Sinners in 1968 and Marthe Fleurant. In 2001, during a gathering that brought together the heart of Francophone musical culture, a dozen artists, spanning three generations, paid Deyglun a singular tribute under the amusing theme, “Hunting, fishing and rock ‘n’ roll”.
Deyglun’s name is especially familiar to the residents of Point-aux-Trembles where a street has been named after the songwriter.